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Why Does My Bra Hurt? The Causes and Solutions to Uncomfortable Bras in 2024

There is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bra. Not only is it socially unacceptable to adjust your bra in public, but uncomfortable bras can also be downright painful.

There are so many reasons your day ends with mysterious back pain, boob pain, or random rashes that it can be hard to tell what is causing it. However, it’s important to determine the cause so that you can be comfortable and wear a bra at the same time. 

Why Does My Bra Ride Up?

This has got to be one of the worst things about a bra. You shouldn’t pull it down in public, but simultaneously you can’t let it rest in the middle of your breast either.

I tried that once until I got to the bathroom, and was mortified when I saw that it was pressing into my breast making it appear as though my breasts were severely disfigured. There are quite a few reasons that your bra could be riding up, though. 

It’s Too Small

I am a solid 36C, but the only size available in a bra that I wanted was a 34 C. I tried to make it happen, but it wouldn’t stop riding up no matter how I adjusted it.

If your bra is too small, it can ride up. Sometimes it will be in the back, sometimes in the front. Properly measuring yourself or having a professional measurement can guarantee that you have a bra that fits properly.

This website has a comprehensive guide for finding your perfect bra size, including a conversion calculator if you live outside the United States.

woman choosing a bra

Why Does My Bra Ride Up In The Front

Most bras come with adjustable straps. These can be adjusted to make them looser or tighter. If they’re too tight, it will pull your bra up. Adjust them a little bit at a time to make sure that they are not too tight or too loose. 

If you have a bralette or sports bra, it’s more than likely that it’s too small. Measure yourself to determine the perfect size.

It’s also important to remember that different brands are made in different sizes, so a medium from one store might fit while a medium from another store might be too small. 

Why Does My Bra Ride Up In The Back

When your bra is too big, especially the back band, it results in the weight of your breasts pulling the bra forward which makes the back of your bra ride up.

If it’s a sports bra or bralette, opt for a smaller size. If it’s a traditional, adjustable bra, make it a little tighter when you first put it on. If this doesn’t work, opt for smaller number size.

For example, instead of a 36C, opt for a 34C. If you have yet to measure yourself, make sure to do this first to ensure that it is too small because of the manufacturer and not due to you ordering the wrong size. 

Why Does My Bra Gap At The Top?

bra cup gap

If you’ve found a bra that seems to fit perfectly, yet there is a gap at the top, it’s because it is the wrong size or style for your breast shape.

We do not all have perfectly round breasts, but some bras are designed for that shape because there are several women that do.

If you notice that your breasts are fuller at the bottom, you might notice a gap at the top when you wear bras that offer full coverage. Instead, go with a plunge bra, balconette bra or push up bra. 

Why Does My Bra Roll-Up

If you’re wondering why does my bra band roll up, you’re in for a surprise. While most people think it’s because the bra band is too small, it is more likely to be because the band is too large. When there is extra fabric, it can result in the band rolling up. 

This is common when the band is too large, but can also be attributed to the bra style as well. Bralettes and other styles that have extra fabric underneath the cup or area where your breasts sit are more likely to roll up. 

You can instantly solve this issue by opting for a bra without the extra fabric, such as a T-shirt bra with no fabric under the cups. If you’re wearing a sports bra, opt for a smaller size to see if that helps. 

Bra Style For Your Breast Shape

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, just like the rest of our bodies. This can make shopping for bras fun, but it can also result in us owning several adorable yet poor fitting bras.

Specific breast shapes and sizes tend to do better with specific styles.

clothesline with bras

If you find that your bra is riding up in the front or back or that your breasts seem to be spilling out of it even though your bra seems to fit snugly, it could be due to it being the wrong bra style for your particular breast shape.

This can also cause a gap in certain areas of the cup.

Uneven Breasts

Life is not symmetrical, and neither are our breasts. If you have one that is a full cup size bigger than the other, it can lead to one half always being uncomfortable.

That is unless you have the perfect bra. Opt for a bra that fits the bigger breast that also allows for removable inserts. Those inserts will help fill out the empty cup space on the side of the smaller breast. 

Other Uneven Areas

While we all would like perfect even breasts in every area, it’s important to realize that this is not usually the norm. Sometimes, breasts will be fuller at the bottom instead of at the top.

They might also be fuller at the top than at the bottom. If this is the case, opt for a push-up bra or balconette bra. These styles help bring everything back together. 

Wide Space Between Breasts

If you have a wider space between your breasts, which is common if you notice that your nipples point outwards in opposite directions, it can be tough to find a bra that works perfectly.

If you don’t it can result in a cup gap in the middle, particularly in women with a smaller bust. Opt for a balconette bra.

This style redirects your breasts and nipples to bring everything back to the front and give them the perfect shape. A balconette bra will also close the gap between your breasts. 

If you’re not a fan of balconette bras, a plunge style bra, push up bra or some T-shirt bras will also do the trick. Ones with underwires are ideal if you’re trying to close the gap in the middle. 


If your breasts are equally full and rounder, almost any bra style will work. If you want to create some cleavage, opt for a balconette or push up style bra. These will give you the flattering effect that you’re going after. 

These are some of the most common problems you’ll come across between your breast shape and bra style, but they aren’t all of them. For a comprehensive guide to breast shape and bra styles, check out this website

Why Does My Bra Squeak?

While this might not make you physically uncomfortable, it can still be bothersome. It can be embarrassing, especially if you notice a squeaking noise during a professional meeting or when attempting to hug someone. This is a common problem, and it has an easy fix. 

Most bras do this when the underwire in the bra rubs against the fabric. It’s especially common in new bras. If this is the case, wearing the bra and letting it go through the wash can solve the problem.

If the squeaking is embarrassing, wear your new bra around the house to help it mold to your body. 

Sometimes, you’ll run into bras that do this regardless of how many times you wash them or wear them. This can be due to the underwire not fully filling out the space that it has in the bra.

woman putting on a bra

The extra room creates more friction. Grab your sewing kit, and sew up the end of the underwire slot to remove the extra space. This will help keep your underwire in place.

Another option is to remove the underwire completely. To do this, use a seam ripper to remove the stitches at the end of the bra. Slowly bunch up the fabric near the underwire to push it out of the bra.

Then, pull the underwire the rest of the way out of the bra. This will not give you the support that an underwire bra will, but it will remove the squeaking noise. 

Why Does My Bra Hurt My Back?

Most women are under the impression that a poor-fitting bra will cause back pain. This is true, but it’s not entirely the bra’s fault. What happens is that a poor-fitting bra does not properly support the breasts.

In bigger breasted women, this results in the breasts not being supported, which then causes back pain. This can also happen when a woman does not wear a bra that provides the support that she needs, even if the bra fits perfectly.

If you’ve noticed that you have back pain when wearing a specific bra, it’s more than likely the lack of support. Opt for a full coverage bra instead. 

Why Does My Bra Hurt My Shoulders?

If you’ve noticed your bra causing pain in your shoulders, neck, or head, it could be due to bra strap syndrome.

There are several medical interventions that can be used, but that doesn’t mean you instantly have to take a trip to the doctor. You also aren’t automatically sentenced to breast reduction surgery if you have bigger breasts. 

Bra strap syndrome is often caused by narrow bra straps that then have to support larger breasts. This leads to the bra straps cutting into the shoulders, which ultimately leads to pain.

Pick up a bra that is designed to offer full coverage with wider straps. Opting for a strapless bra is another solution as it eliminates any problems with bra straps.

Sports bras are a nice option if you are willing to try them. They are designed to both have full coverage and have wider straps. 

Why Does My Bra Hurt My Sides?

This is usually caused by wearing a bra that is too small. Sometimes, when we think a bra is “snug” it is actually too small. When we wear a bra that is too small, it digs into our sides.

If a bra has an underwire, the underwire will dig into our sides. If you only notice side pain when wearing a particular bra, it’s more than likely too small. 

Sometimes, a bra will fit fine but will still cause pain. This could be caused by the underwire digging into the skin because the underwire is too big or too small for your breast size/shape. Trying on bras to ensure that your breast fits ideally in the cup can prevent this. 

This is also a common reason why your bra my hurt your ribs, stomach or breasts. It may be a sharp pain or a slow, dull pain that gets worse as the day goes on. Pay attention to where the pain is, and which bras it does it with. 

Misshapen/Bent Underwires And Misplaced Padding

If you’ve ever thrown your bra in the washer and dryer only to discover that it causes pain the next time that you wear it, it’s more than likely due to one of these issues.

Feel the padding in the bra to determine if it’s become lumpy in one area or another. You can also tell if it’s the underwire by feeling it. You will feel a kink in the metal or a small bend of the wire. Both of these issues are both fixable and preventable. 


If the padding in your bra is no longer the proper shape after washing it, you can reshape it yourself. To do this, soak it in water, just as it was in the washer.

bra padding

Then, use your fingers to gently shape the padding as it should be. Because you’ll be doing this through the fabric of your bra it will take longer, but it’s well worth the time, given how expensive bras can be. 


If the underwire is bent, try bending it back into place. If this doesn’t work, throw it back in the dryer for twenty minutes.

The heat makes the metal a tad bit softer and easier to bend, which is how most underwires get bent in the first place. After taking the bra out of the dryer, carefully bend it back into place. 

If all else fails, cut the fabric at the end of the bra or use a seam ripper to rip out the seams, and remove the underwire. Your bra will not be as cute, and it won’t provide the support that it did with the underwire, though.

After cutting out the underwire, you can replace it with a new one by simply sliding a new metal underwire into the same spot and sewing it back up. Or, you can leave the underwires out for a more comfortable bra. 


Preventing the washer and dryer from destroying your bra is key to not having to deal with this problem again. You can handwash bras, which is the most gentle option.

After handwashing, hang them to dry. Personally, I’m not a fan of handwashing, even when it comes to delicate lace, so I completely avoid it unless I have to.

Instead, I wash bras one at a time on a delicate cycle with cold water while placed in a mesh laundry bag. Then, I don’t dry them in the dryer. Instead, I just hang them on the doorknob and let them air dry. I’ve never had this problem since I started doing this. 

Itchy, Scratchy Fabric

bras in a drawer

Those adorable pieces of lace that run along the bottom of a bra can look good, but they don’t always feel good.

Double for the stiff pieces of faux lace that are carefully stitched into place along the sides of the bra. Not only do these make you itchy, but they can also scratch against the skin and leave a horrible rash. 

Instead, go with fabrics that you already know and love, such as cotton and satin. Save the sexy lace for lingerie, and reserve it for date nights that you know will have a happy ending to avoid being uncomfortable all day at work. 

Allergic Reaction

If you’re allergic to spandex or latex, there aren’t a lot of options out there. Bras, including tube bras, sports bras, and bralettes, get their stretchiness from these materials.

Although there are not a lot of bras that don’t have these materials, there are still some alternative solutions that can make you feel more comfortable. 

Latex-Free Bras

Although these can be hard to find, they do exist! Smooth Sensations is a brand that has latex-free bras, making them perfect for those with allergies. 


There’s nothing wrong with letting them hang! Throw on a pair of pasties and enjoy feeling free!


A cami is just like a tank top. It is a women’s undershirt. While these might get hotter during summer months, they can give you an additional layer of protection, and they are available without built-in bras. 

Crop Top Style Bras

There are bras on the market that do not have latex or spandex. Instead, they are shaped more like a crop top. These can be cooler than camis, and more comfortable than bras.

If you have a bigger bust, they might not provide the support you need, though. In this situation, opt for a latex-free bra. 

Get More Comfortable With These Solutions

If you’ve done the above and you’re just not comfortable with your bra, it doesn’t mean that you have to let your breasts free and give up.

There are plenty of solutions that can work with you, even in cold weather, to make sure that you’re comfortable all day long. 

Bra Extenders

Bra extenders are the go-to option for people that have gained a bit of weight and don’t want to replace their bras.

They attach to the backs of the bra to make the band larger than it previously was. My mom used to have a few of these, and they worked wonderfully. 

Bra Strap Pads

Bra strap pads are designed to go underneath your bra straps. If you switched from a bra with narrow straps and find that they are still digging into your should, try a set of bra strap pads. They provide the perfect amount of cushion for your shoulders. 

Going Braless Isn’t Illegal…

Some women, a few in my family included, are so tired of the stereotypes and discomfort that they have chosen to say forget bras altogether.

They occasionally wear them when going to work. Beyond that, there are no bras, or bra straps, to worry about. One family member swears that wearing a bra makes your breasts sag sooner, so she wears one the least amount possible.

black bra

Comfortable Bras

Just because it’s a bra does not mean that it has to be covered in scratchy lace, have underwires, and a racerback with abnormally thin straps.

Some bras are genuinely comfortable. Bralettes are a personal favorite. They are pretty, come with easy to adjust straps and the lace is usually soft, unlike scratchy lace. Cotton bralettes are also available. 

Sports bras are another wonderful alternative to traditional bras. They provide the comfort of a bralette with the support of a full coverage bra.

Women can find them in a few different sizes, so a larger bust shouldn’t be an issue. There is no adjusting straps, straps digging into shoulders, etc.

The only problem some women have is that some sports bras come with padding, which can quickly become deformed in the washing machine. 


These are sort of like stickers that go over your nipples. If you are concerned about your nipples showing when you’re going braless, these are a great solution.

They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Skin colors are available as well to help your pasties blend with your skin tone. This creates a uniform tone so most people won’t be able to tell that you’re wearing them. 

There are so many reasons that bras are uncomfortable it can be hard to believe. If I had to pick the most uncomfortable thing in a wardrobe, it’d be a bra. Thankfully, there are these tips to help you get the perfect bra for you to finally be comfortable.